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Re: UFOnet: Fwd = Private rocket launch is 'suicidal'

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  • vincent gregory palmer
    If this is the same guy I watched on TV the other night, who had a ten minute window granted by authorities to test his latest rocket from a beach in the UK
    Message 1 of 2 , Jun 30, 2001
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      If this is the same guy I watched on TV the other night, who had a ten
      minute window granted by authorities to test his latest rocket from a beach
      in the UK and managed to dig a bunker 6 feet too short for the fuses to
      reach, then frantically digging a fresh one for his last chance to be in the
      race to space, then I look forward to the horror show in 2 years time.

      regards Vince

      > From: Frits Westra <fwestra@...>
      > Reply-To: ufonet@yahoogroups.com
      > Date: Sat, 30 Jun 2001 21:09:44 +0200
      > To: <UFOnet@yahoogroups.com>
      > Subject: UFOnet: Fwd = Private rocket launch is 'suicidal'
      >
      >
      > Forwarded by: fwestra@... (Frits Westra)
      > URL: http://news.bbc.co.uk/hi/english/sci/tech/newsid_1407000/1407210.stm
      > Original Date: 30 Jun 2001 15:16:31 -0000
      >
      > ========================== Forwarded message begins ======================
      >
      > BBC News Online
      > Tuesday, 26 June, 2001, 15:07 GMT 16:07 UK
      >
      > Private rocket launch is 'suicidal'
      >
      > By BBC News Online science editor Dr David Whitehouse
      >
      > British rocket experts are denouncing as suicidal the latest plans of
      > controversial rocket engineer Steve Bennett.
      >
      > Just watch me. 'Seeing is believing', I say to my critics
      >
      > If he goes ahead with them, he could well be killed, and the
      > burgeoning British rocketry effort will be permanently stuck on the
      > launch pad, they warn.
      >
      > Their concerns were voiced as Bennett, from Manchester, prepared to
      > unveil his latest project, which he describes as the world's first
      > private spacecraft, at an exhibition in London.
      >
      > He intends to become the first private astronaut to go into space with
      > his own rocket. Within two years, he hopes to take two passengers into
      > space with him. Critics are already calling it the "bye, bye, Bennett
      > mission".
      >
      > Steve Bennett's latest development is the Nova capsule.
      >
      > Alongside it at the exhibtion will be a larger capsule called
      > Thunderbird, which Bennett hopes will take him, and the two
      > passengers, into space.
      >
      > But other rocket experts are worried, not least because the
      > Thunderbird capsule is actually a converted cement mixer, containing
      > sheets of hardboard and a few computer joysticks.
      >
      > "This is not like launching an off-the-shelf rocket to a few tens of
      > thousands of feet," said British rocket expert Richard Osborne.
      > "Getting to the edge of space is a very different matter. You have to
      > have expertise, experience, tonnes of money and then test, test,
      > test."
      >
      > BBC News Online put these criticisms to Steve Bennett. He responded:
      > "We are not planning any tests such as wind tunnel or vibration tests
      > before we launch it. That is what the test flight is for."
      >
      > 'Ambitious project'
      >
      > He confirmed that it was his intention for the Nova capsule to be
      > launched on a 3,050-metre (10,000-ft) shake-down mission by a cluster
      > of commercially available rocket motors all strapped together.
      >
      > If he gets into that capsule and lights the rockets it will be, bye,
      > bye, Bennett
      >
      > Richard Osborne told BBC News Online that the rockets Mr Bennett was
      > using each had a burn-time of six seconds, and if they all fired
      > together would subject him and his capsule to high G-forces that they
      > might not be able to withstand.
      >
      > Even Steve Bennett's own team are surprised. Gurbir Singh, from
      > Starchaser Industries, the rocketeer's own company, told BBC News
      > Online that the mission was "somewhat ambitious".
      >
      > Pete Davy, of Pete's Rockets, where many British rocket enthusiasts
      > get their rockets, was more blunt: "If he gets into that capsule and
      > lights the rockets it will be, bye, bye, Bennett."
      >
      > But, despite these warnings, the Bennett launch schedule goes ahead.
      > "I will be the first private astronaut," he said.
      >
      > Commit to launch
      >
      > But has Bennett got the "right stuff" to go into space? He is an
      > accomplished parachutist but it will take more than that. In
      > particular, training in a centrifuge will be needed so that he, and
      > any passengers, can learn how to cope with the considerable G-forces,
      > higher than those experienced on Nasa's space shuttle.
      >
      > Steve Bennett: "I will be the first private astronaut"
      >
      > "I've only been in a centrifuge briefly when I took a ride in the one
      > at Nasa's Johnson Space Center," Steve Bennett said. "I'll need more
      > time. I'll probably have to go to Russia for that."
      >
      > But Nasa denies he has been anywhere near their centrifuge, which is
      > owned by the US Army and not at the Johnson Space Center anyway, and
      > Singh said that no centrifuge training had taken place.
      >
      > In the media, Steve Bennett has been called "Britain's answer to
      > Nasa". Indeed, on his website, Bennett cites Nasa as one of his
      > official sponsors. Nasa denies this and when this was pointed out,
      > Bennett said: "Er, that might be an exaggeration, I'll look into
      > that."
      >
      > Within hours of this article appearing Nasa was removed from the list
      > of official sponsors on Starchasers website.
      >
      > According to Starchaser Industries, two, as yet unnamed, passengers
      > have signed up to fly with Bennett for a fee that the company's
      > website says is £500,000. In 1999, the company was offering a seat for
      > £62,500.
      >
      > If for any reason the mission does not go ahead, Bennett told us that
      > their money is secure. "If they don't fly they will get their money
      > back."
      >
      > X-Prize
      >
      > Starchaser Industries says that the Thunderbird will be launched using
      > a "single, dependable, liquid-propellant engine". In the past, armed
      > forces and space agencies have sweated over such engines, spending
      > many years and enormous sums on them.
      >
      > But according to Singh, the sweating at Starchaser Industries has yet
      > to begin, despite the launch date being less than 100 weeks away. He
      > said that little work had been done on the liquid-fuelled rocket.
      > "This is an aspiration. There are a couple of students looking at it,"
      > he said.
      >
      > Bennett however, says something different: "I have the first prototype
      > engine on the desk in front of me. We plan to test it on a military
      > site later this year."
      >
      > Rocket experts are somewhat puzzled by this, as Bennett has been
      > banned, and caused all other rocketeers to be banned from military
      > launch ranges, after he set fire to one when a rocket failed on launch
      > a few years ago.
      >
      > All agree that if Bennett is to get into space, and win the coveted
      > $10 million X-Prize for the first private individual or company to do
      > so, he will have to raise his game.
      >
      > Amateur record
      >
      > Bennett's crowning achievement so far is "launching a rocket to 20,000
      > ft (6096 m) that we believe is capable of going to 120,000 ft (36576
      > m). In fact, I lead the field," he told BBC News Online.
      >
      > But Pete Davy is unimpressed: "For £30 you can put together a rocket
      > that will reach 5,000 ft (1524 m). Sending a rocket to 20,000 ft (6096
      > m) can be done for less than £1,000."
      >
      > The current British amateur rocket altitude record is 34,579 ft
      > (10,540 m).
      >
      > John Bonsor, of Starr, a Scottish rocketry group is puzzled. "I don't
      > understand what is happening. He has been using cheap rockets, has a
      > mixed bag of success and disaster and has achieved less than many
      > others have working from their garage. It is ridiculous to claim that
      > he leads the field, except in the number of crashes."
      >
      > "I've come from nothing to being the leading contender in the
      > X-Prize," counters Bennett.
      >
      > "Only if he reinvents the laws of physics," replies Bonsor. "He has
      > absolutely no chance of the X-Prize. Please don't launch."
      >
      > Bennett's reply? "Just watch me. 'Seeing is believing', I say to my
      > critics."
      >
      > ========================== Forwarded message ends ========================
      >
      >
      >
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